I mentioned two invention challenges for students last week, and I am thrilled to add another opportunity to the list. The Star Trek Replicator Challenge is being offered by NASA and The ASME Foundation. The launch video is a great introduction to the challenge, which invites students to “design a non-edible, food related product for astronauts to 3d print in the year 2050.” The contest opened on 2/16/16, and will close on 5/1/16. You can find rules and specific guidelines (which are a bit intimidating) on the official challenge website.
With the recent touchdown of the Mars rover, Curiosity, the beginning of the school year would be a great time to ignite your students’ curiosity about space exploration. On the Follow Your Curiosity site, NASA has provided 5 lesson plans with student and teacher guides for grades 6-8. I think that you could modify them for a bit lower or higher grades on either end, though. The site includes video clips and many hands-on activities, including a simulation activity of a Mars rover and the creation of a 3-D Mars community. Visit Follow Your Curiosity for a great selection of Rover Resources!